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Edinburgh Innovations Leadership team


George Baxter – Chief Executive Officer


After completing a BSc and a PhD in Chemistry at Glasgow University, Dr George Baxter spent 15 years in sales, marketing and business management with ICI and then AstraZeneca, running a number of international business units. George then joined the North West Development Agency in 2003 as Director of Science and Innovation. Over the next eight years, NWDA led a number of major economic development initiatives including Daresbury Science and Innovation Campus, the formation of the N8 group and the Innovation Strategy for the north-west of England. He then joined Salford University as Professor of Innovation and Enterprise and subsequently Director of Research and Enterprise.

George moved to the University of Nottingham to lead its Directorate of Business Engagement, merged this with the Research Support Office and led the joint operation, before moving to Edinburgh Innovations in 2016.

“In many large universities the traditional tech transfer and business engagement activities are separated in different organisations. By combining these in such a large university as Edinburgh we are able to work with external partners across a wide range of activities, finding the most appropriate academics for them to work with and supporting that in the most productive way, whether that is contract research, a licence, a spinout company, consultancy or some hybrid of these.”

George Baxter, CEO

Chris Cope – Head of Finance


As a qualified accountant, Chris started his career with the brewer Scottish & Newcastle, where he conducted a review of retail and wholesale businesses throughout the UK. The following 11 years were spent with multinational Schlumberger, including five years in France, in a number of Financial Controller positions. Chris then joined the management team at an Edinburgh-based SME that was acquired in a management buyout in 2010, and subsequently successfully sold. Chris has been with Edinburgh Innovations since 2016.

“Due to our expertise, size and breadth of activities, Edinburgh Innovations offers unrivalled service to external partners who want to work alongside the world-leading staff and research activities that the University of Edinburgh carries out.

Chris Cope, Head of Finance

Andrea Taylor – Head of Major Projects


Following a PhD in genetics at the University of Edinburgh and several post-doc roles in cancer research, Andrea worked in drug discovery within the pharmaceuticals sector (Smith Kline Beecham now GSK) and biotech (Oxford Glycosciences, latterly UCB).

Andrea then took on senior consultancy positions with companies in Oxford and Cambridge (Pharma Ventures and Cambridge Consultants) conducting valuations and providing deal-making advice, market forecasting and due diligence to a wide range of biotechs, global industry players and venture capital investors.

She then spent six years with Scottish Enterprise and Scottish Development International working to support the growth of companies in the Scottish healthcare sector and attracting life science companies to locate in Scotland.

As Head of Inward Investment at Edinburgh BioQuarter, Andrea was involved in securing several inward investors including GSK to locate at the site. Andrea joined Edinburgh Innovations in 2017.

“EI is working in partnership with the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine (CMVM) in a very joined up way to drive more engagement in translation and commercialisation. We are focusing on broad range of initiatives to engage the early career research base and support them in translation. We are also undertaking a lot of proactive industry engagement to provide new opportunities for collaboration and investment. CMVM enjoyed a record year in 19/20 in terms of the level of industrial and translational income generated and the number of new spin outs established and the momentum and integrated approach gives us a great platform on which to build.”

Andrea Taylor, Head of Major Projects

John Lonsdale – Head of Enterprise

Head of Enterprise Services, leads a number of key functions at Edinburgh Innovations, including intellectual property management and commercialisation, staff startups and spinouts, student enterprise and the investment team.

John is also Chair of Old College Capital GP and a Director of Edinburgh Technology Fund.

John has a degree in Engineering and Industrial Management, an MBA and Doctorate of Business Administration (DBA). John’s doctoral research was on academic entrepreneurship and how universities can create ecosystems that encourage research translation and impact, bringing benefits for academics, students, universities and wider communities.

John’s career began in sales, marketing and commercial management in the energy sector (Rolls-Royce and National Nuclear Lab) before moving to the Higher Education sector in 2007, where he was Director of Innovation and Enterprise at UCLan, before joining Edinburgh Innovations in 2018.

“EI fulfils a key role in getting research innovations from the lab to end use. We help researchers to find the funding, market experience and business support they need, supporting at every stage as their innovation negotiates both technical and commercial challenges.

At times we act as advisor, coach and mentor to our staff and student clients, translating the needs of industry sectors and investors and helping build technologies, teams and businesses.

We facilitate the connection of the exceptional knowledge and talent of the University of Edinburgh staff and students to partners worldwide.”

John Lonsdale, Head of Enterprise

Aileen Appleyard – Head of College of Arts, Humanities and Social Science Account Team

After completing an MA at the University of Glasgow, Aileen Appleyard spent the first 10 years of her career focused on policy and economic development.

During this time she completed an MBA at the University of Strathclyde. This was followed by a period in financial services and management consultancy.  As a Consultant and Change Programme Manager Aileen was successful in shaping and implementing business growth plans in professional services, financial services and education sectors.

Aileen has successfully directed and delivered strategic change initiatives cross-divisionally and across multiple regions.

Aileen joined Edinburgh Innovations in 2015 to lead the transformation of the Consultancy operation. In July 2020, Aileen took on the role of Head of CAHSS Account Team.


“Innovation is about what happens when people get together to discuss ideas and share opinions. It is about thinking differently about how we do things, looking for new approaches and breaking new ground. It is about applying academic knowledge to solve business problems and to support product, process and policy development for university and societal benefit. “

Aileen Appleyard, Head of CAHSS Account Team

John Jeffrey – Head of Business Development for College of Science and Engineering

After completing a BSc in Chemistry at the University of Edinburgh, a PhD in Chemistry at the University of Cambridge, a Royal Society Fellowship at Auckland University in New Zealand, and then an EPSRC Research Fellowship at the University of Oxford, Dr John Jeffrey spent 12 years in downstream R&D with Esso at its main European research centre at Milton Hill, running international projects including diesel fuel field trials in Finland, gasoline exhaust gas emissions linked to fuel and hardware design, and finally heavy duty diesel fuel lubricants design, testing and approvals.

In 2000, he moved to Edinburgh to initially work at Heriot-Watt University as a Business Development Executive, working closely with Scottish Enterprise and its Proof of Concept programme, before moving to the University of Edinburgh in Oct 2002, as a Business Development Executive in the College of Science & Engineering, looking after the Schools of Engineering, GeoSciences and Physics & Astronomy.

He subsequently focused on the School of Engineering, and became Business Development Manager in 2017, before being promoted to Head of Business for the College of Science & Engineering in April 2019.

Innovation is about new ideas and approaches to societal problems and industry challenges. We bring that about through an open and encouraging environment, allowing academics and students to develop and grow early-stage ideas into meaningful outcomes.

Edinburgh Innovations helps to develop these ideas with the academic and student inventors through providing support at the right time and finding opportunities to take the development of the invention to the next stage.”

John Jeffrey, Head of Business Development for CSE